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Review - Video - Cities of the Underworld - Gladiators: Blood Sport

In the Third Season of the video documentary series Cities of the Underworld, Don Wildman takes us inside some unusual places such as Las Vegas' Secret Sin City, Hitler's Trenches, Alcatraz Down Under and four disc's worth of other explorations. The episode we're reviewing today is the "Gladiators: Blood Sport" where Don inspects crypts and chambers used for worship and the training school. Ludus Magnus is the largest training ground with tunnels to the Colosseum. It was over 100 yards long and over three stories high with walls of gleaming marble. The complex contained barracks, kitchens, medical facilities, weapons factory and was strictly guarded (especially since a lot of gladiators were slaves). Weapons mimiced those of conquered foreign armies. Spartacus was a Thracian slave, forced into gladiatorial school. He revolted with 80 others, taking carts of weapons and kitchen knives. Eventually he had over 120,000 men and fought for 2 years. However, they were outnumbered by the Roman army and Spartacus died. The rebels were impaled along the main road, Via Appia (Appian Way) (people are also buried along this road). Weapon-handling became very closely guarded after this. Gladiatorial games were financed by Senators and wealthy men to gain more prestige among fellow men and to garner support for political careers. Julius Caesar regularly borrowed money to pay for game to increase his popularity. The first gladiatorial games were held at the Old Cattle Market where two men fought to the death during a small funerary ceremony. Average lifespan for a gladiator was 25 years even with the best foods and medical services available at the time. Gladiators were buried according to "position". The last gladiatorial game was held in 404 AD.

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